HORSE APPROVAL FORM PCV’s Name ____________________________________________ Date: ________________ Horse Riding Waiver Under very special circumstances, PCVs may decide that due to lack of public transportation and special road conditions a mountain bike is not appropriate for meeting their transportation needs. In these cases a horse may be requested. If you are authorized to rent or purchase a horse a receipt is required. Horses are considered to be accountable property, therefore PCVs are responsible to insure they have proper care and feed. Should you purchase a horse you must sell it at the conclusion of your Peace Corps service or give it to another PCV. Any transfer to another PCV must be documented with the approval of their APCD and CD. If the horse is sold, a bill of sale and the money obtain must be presented to Peace Corps. Peace Corps – Lesotho recognizes the need at time for PCVs to ride a horse to enhance their work due to the logistical challenges in some of the rural areas we serve. We also recognize the inherent safety and financial challenges associated with riding, renting or owning a horse. Any PCV needs to recognize the following reference riding and renting or owning a horse. 1. Receive approval from your APCD and CD prior to riding, renting or purchasing a horse. 2. Provide a written rational as to why you need a horse to better meet your job requirements. 3. Consider alternative to renting or purchasing a horse that are more cost effective recognizing the food, medicine, saddle and other accessory costs associate with a horse. 4. Consider cost haring options that would allow you to use a neighbor’s horse during which time you cover some of the costs. 5. Recognize that horses are stolen. 6. It is required that you always wear a headgear protection which Peace Corps – Lesotho will purchase for you. 7. Discuss with your APCD where you can receive helpful riding hints and horse car instructions prior to renting or purchasing a horse. I acknowledge that I have read and understand Section 8.7 Horse Policy from the “Volunteer Handbook”, I have received and read a copy of “A Horseback Riding Guide for PCVs (Lesotho)” and have read and agree to the above Horse Riding Waiver. __________________________________________ Date: ____________________ Signature HORSE APPROVAL FORM Page 2 State reason for the need of a horse: Cost of rental per month or purchase: M __________________ (state rent or purchase). Effective date if rental: (mo/day/year) _________________ . PCV’s Signature: ______________________________________ Date: __________________ Approved APCD: ______________________________________ Date: __________________ Approved CD: ________________________________________ Date: ___________________ Original to PCV file Copy to Administrative Officer for payment A Horseback Riding Guide for PCVs (Lesotho) By: Andrew Dernovsek PCV Lesotho 2007-09 Congratulations on being approved to have a horse. I’m sure you will find that the horse will be extremely useful, and a huge boost to your work when properly ridden, cared for, and respected. This is a guide for Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) in Lesotho who have been issued or will be issued horses. The guide will cover basic riding and riding principles, how to use different saddles and bridles, general horse maintenance and care, tips for riding in Lesotho, and some key horse terms in Sesotho. Let me begin the Peace Corps way by asking you each to read Peace Corps Lesotho Policy 8.7 “Horse Policy”. It outlines the requirements of renting or owning a horse and the approval you will need. Before you may get approval you will be required to acknowledge that you have read this guide. Buying or Renting a Horse: The first step you will need to take is renting or buying a horse. I think the far easier path, and the best in my opinion, is to rent the horse. Renting the horse eliminates many problems you could have with your horse including: taking care of the horse, medicating the horse, problems associated with horse ownership, watching the horse, stabling the horse, being unhappy with your particular horse and the problems associated with selling your horse at the conclusion of your Peace Corps service. If possible, rent the horse on a monthly basis. Work with your host family and counterparts to negotiate a proper price for your horse. Ask someone you trust what a good monthly rate is for a horse. I found out through my counterpart which horses in my village were not being used very often, and asked about their quality. In this way, I located someone who was more likely to give me the horse at a low price because they weren’t regularly using the horse. After you identify your target horse think about terms of negotiation. The horse already should have someone watching it. I would urge you in your negotiation to offer to pay a certain amount per month for the privilege of riding the horse whenever you need it. This means that if you need the horse you go to the owner’s house the day before you need it, and ask them for the horse the next day. In your negotiation ask for precedence in using the horse, so that there will be no qualms when you do come and ask for the horse. If you are able to negotiate this, the owners should continue to feed the horse (however, you can offer to contribute the amount approved by Peace Corps per month in food), take care of the horse, watch the horse, and be responsible for the horse. It is very important that you have a Mosotho negotiate all of this for you. Let that person know how much you want to pay for the horse, and the terms for renting the horse. Let them go to negotiate. Do not go with them. However, know how much of a good negotiator you think you are, there is a reason why we all get constantly asked for money and candy. Also, if possible, have someone with a great deal of authority or respect in the community do your negotiation. I pay M50/month for my horse; however, people tell me this is very low. Ask a few different people you trust what a good price for horse rental is in your area. If the horse rental price is too high you may need to consider buying a horse. Please consult Horse Policy 8.7 if you need to buy your horse. Before you buy it consider the work involved in feeding, watering, care, night stabling etc. Develop a plan with your family or counterpart on how you or someone you’ve identified will take care of the horse. The Horse: Congratulations on obtaining your horse. The most important thing to remember when dealing with your new horse is that it is a strong animal and needs to be respected at all times. Do not get too comfortable with your horse. Countless horse experts will tell you that it is as soon as you get comfortable with your nice calm horse and let your guard down that something bad will happen. Your horse will at some point be upset, get startled, or just create a problem. However, if properly prepared, a rider can diminish the effects of a potential problem. Do not let your guard down. This is very important when dealing with your horse, whether you are brushing, riding, or feeding it remember the parts of this guide, and keep your guard up. Respect the horse. Do not be afraid of the horse. Be respectful yet confident and firm when dealing with your horse. A horse can sense when it can walk all over you and do what it wants. If it can, it will. Ask a Mosotho if you are not sure what to do, how to do it, or just aren’t ready to do it yet.. They will be more than happy to show you there expertise in horses, and show you what they know. The one exception to this is when saddling your horse. You can get help from a Mosotho to begin with and have him/her show you how to do it, but you need to double check it for yourself. It is very important for a number of reasons that you learn how to and do saddle your own horse. Types of Saddles: There are many types of saddles and different variations of those saddles. However, in Lesotho, as in the rest of the world, there are two main types: Western and English. In Lesotho, you will see the English saddle almost exclusively. Most English saddles were designed to give the horse freedom of movement whether jumping, running, etc. It is the saddle used in most competitions. “Western saddles are used for western riding and are the saddles used on working horses on cattle ranches throughout the United States, particularly in the west. They are the "cowboy" saddles familiar to movie viewers, rodeo fans, and those who have gone on trail rides at guest ranches. This saddle was designed to provide security and comfort to the rider when spending long hours on a horse, traveling over rugged terrain.” (Wikipedia) Saddling your Horse: This is a very important time in dealing with your horse. In time you will be able to read its emotions. You will also be able to sense its mood, and properly (or improperly) prepare it for the day’s ride. To begin you need to approach your horse. Never ever approach a horse from the back. Yes I know the shepherds do it, but this guide is designed to keep you safe. There is no reason you should need to approach a horse from the rear. This is the single best way to get kicked with full force by a horse. Let me talk about kicking. As I’ve said your horse needs to be respected. A horse kick can easily break your bones. The most powerful kick a horse has is the hind legs kicking backward. The hind legs can also kick forwards with less power and the front legs can kick backwards. A horse will not usually kick its front legs forward. It will usually choose to ‘rear up’ or bite as a defense. Most tame horses won’t bite and kick you for no reason; I only want to make you aware of your horse. A tame, happy, calm horse will kick backwards with the back legs quickly if it is startled and does not see something approaching behind it. Are you ready to approach your horse yet? Remember to remain, calm, confident, on guard, and in control. Approach your horse from the front or side, and let it look at you, and get accustomed to you. If you are so inclined, look into the horse’s eye, if you can see your reflection, the horse is still ‘young.’ Gently stroke and pat the horse, the neck and upper back are good places to begin. A horse, when first meeting a person, does not like people to touch its face. However, many seem to enjoy being pet or scratched right below the hairline on their foreheads. When working with your horse always keep both hands on the horse or both hands in view. This is so that the horse knows what you are doing and where you are doing it at all times. Doing this will help you to avoid startling the horse. Before you put on the saddle you need to brush your horse. The point of this is to remove dirt, hair, and flatten everything so that when you put on the blanket and saddle there is nothing that will irritate the horse to a great extent. It is important to brush your horse before riding and after riding. Buy a medium to hard bristled brush (or just a shoe brush) and brush the horse in the direction of the hair. Use short strokes that push the dirt up and out. You will see clouds of dirt come out when you brush properly. Tie your horse up so that it does not move around during the brushing and saddling. Now that you’ve brushed your horse, it’s time to saddle your horse. The first thing to put on is the blanket that goes beneath the saddle. There is a special type of blanket that is made for this purpose and I would recommend buying it. It isn’t too expensive and works very well. It is the blanket pictured. Position the blanket as shown so that it is situated squarely on the horse and begins just near the shoulder. Now that the blanket is on you are ready to place your saddle on the horse. Before putting the saddle on the horse you need to make sure that all ropes, stirrups, and things hanging down from the side are put on top of the saddle. They can be hanging down from the side you are on, but not from the side that is facing the horse while you are putting the saddle on. These things can get caught underneath the saddle, and in doing so make the horse uncomfortable and angry. In the picture notice how the stirrup, belly harness, and roping strap are all resting on top of the saddle. Now you can take the saddle and place it on the horse. Then walk around the horse and gently lower the belly harness, roping strap, and stirrup. Do not reach over the horse. Do not push the straps and harnesses down letting them hit the horse. This is part of setting the horse’s mood. If you brush it properly, saddle it properly, and ride it properly, the horse is less likely to give you problems. In addition if you reach over the horse you may startle it because it wasn’t expecting to be touched on that flank. Now, you need to finish saddling the horse. Begin with the belly harness. Go to the opposite side that the harness is hanging from and slowly reach under the horse near the front legs and pull the harness up. It takes some getting used to. You need to then tighten the harness. It should be pretty tight, but not too tight. You should just be able to squeeze your finger underneath the harness. If it is too tight your horse won’t be happy, but it will still move. However, if it is too loose your saddle may slip and fall off dumping you on the ground while riding. Some horses are very used to saddles and will begin to play tricks with you here. They are known to blow out their bellies while you are trying to make the harness snug. You then think the harness is snug, until later when you feel your saddle slipping off. Try to remember the proper position for your harness on your horse. Finally, secure the harness by looping it as shown in the next picture. Once the belly harness is secured you may fasten the riding strap. On a western saddle this is the strap that goes behind the belly, near the groin. The role of the strap is to keep the saddle in position during very hard riding/roping. If you are not doing either you may want to consider removing it. An English saddle will most often be complete once you have fastened the belly harness, but some have other straps such as the roping strap to hold the saddle in place. The most common one that I have seen in Lesotho is a strap that goes underneath the horse’s tail. As for the roping strap, if you do want to use it you should be careful. It can very easily turn into a bucking strap. If you position the strap poorly, it is too tight, or not tight enough it can slide up into the horses groin and become a ‘bucking strap.’ A male horse will try to kick the strap free because of where the strap is; this is how they make a bucking bronco in a rodeo. If you do need to use the roping strap it is mostly the same procedure as the belly harness. Reach under the horse carefully, pull the strap back, and fasten it. It should be positioned as shown in the picture, and should be tight. My horse does not like it, and occasionally gets upset when I’m fastening it. I will talk about how to deal with this later in horse behavior. The final step in saddling your horse is to check the stirrups. The best way for me to show you how they should look is with a picture. They should hang down to the side, be able to support your weight, and be fastened properly. You will probably need to adjust them after your first time riding. I would recommend asking for help. You should ride so that you are comfortable, but also have control. I like my stirrups to be a bit longer, others like theirs longer. In general, your knees should be slightly bent in the saddle, and you should feel comfortable. Once your stirrups are in place your saddle is all set. You are now ready to bridle your horse. Your horse should remain tied to some type of hitching post, or held in place by someone else when you are putting the bridle on. If you simply remove the rope/chain/harness from your horse it might simply run off. So, always keep your horse tied. You can tie the horse around the neck while bridling it, and when you are finished remove the neck rope. There are four main parts to the bridle (I don’t know all the technical names so I will just describe them as best as I can. There is the part that goes behind the ears and around the head, the part that goes around the head, the metal piece that goes in the horse’s mouth (bit), and the reins. To begin hang the bridle as shown, you will move the bridle onto the horse just like this. In the picture, the part that goes around the head and behind the ears is at the top and the reins are hanging at the bottom. Slide the bridal over the horse’s head, once it is halfway on position the nose piece so that it goes over the horse’s nose. Next, you need to place the bit. This really takes some getting used to because you are putting something in the horse’s mouth. However, properly done and after some practice it will be easy. Make the letter “L” or a big “C” with the thumb and pointer finger of the hand you will use to insert the bit. Follow the shape of the bit. Position your fingers directly behind it, not on top or below of it (you don’t want to be bitten). Gently push the bit into the horse’s mouth. It will eventually open its mouth and ‘take’ the bit. At this point pull the bridle all the way back and use the hand that was inserting the bit to hold the bit from underneath the horses chin. Once you have pulled the bridle back the horse can no longer remove the bit from its mouth. The final step is to position the horse’s ears if necessary. There are many different types of bridles and I can’t go over all of them, but many are used in this same fashion. The other most popular bridle in Lesotho is one that goes horse’s nose and uses pinching on the nose to control the horse. Again, ask for help if you are unfamiliar with what you are doing. And you’re ready to go! Mounting the Horse: Mounting the horse is not difficult if you are physically fit. Before you mount the horse you need to take the reins. Position the reins as you will use them when riding. One rein should be on either side of the horse’s head. Once the reins are over the horses head and one is on either side of the head you can mount the horse. If you are mounting from the left side put your left foot in the stirrup first, if you are mounting from the right. Never let the reins leave your hands from this point until you dismount from the horse. If you lose the reins you lose all control of the horse. If you have a western saddle you can pull yourself up with the saddle horn if you have an English saddle you can still use the saddle or you can hold onto the horse’s hair. If you use the mane hair to pull yourself up, make sure you get a big clump and pull up quickly. Swing your other leg over the horse, and put it in the stirrup. Remember to keep hold of your reins, you may need to pull back to keep your horse from going forward. If you need to adjust your stirrups or the saddle, now is the time to dismount and do it. It is better now in a controlled situation then somewhere along the road. See if the saddle feels loose, and check the stirrups for length. All set? Then let’s go! Basic Horsemanship/Riding: The first thing you probably want to know is how to ‘steer’ your horse. There are two basic methods. Use the one that is most comfortable and natural for you and your horse. The first method, and the one I prefer, is the Western method. In this method, you hold both reins with one hand and direct the horse to the left or the right by pulling both reins to that direction. So if you want to go to the left you pull both reins to the left. If you want the horse to move right pull both reins to the right. This leaves one hand free to do other things such as: hold your whip, a bag, or whatever. In the other method, the English method, you need to hold one rein in each hand. If you want to go to the left, you pull the left rein only. If you want to go to the right you pull the right rein only. In both methods, you pull straight back to get the horse to stop or slow down. Try having your horse move around in different directions. Move it to the left, right, and do some circles. The horse I ride is a stallion, and I find that this is an excellent way to reestablish dominance when he wants to challenge me. I will slow the horse down, and make him spin back and forth in circles until he realizes again that I am the one in control. To get your horse to move you can try gently prodding it in the ribs with your feet. However, I have found that most horses in Lesotho do not respond to this because they were trained with a whip or a stick only. Most of them need to be tapped or hit in the rear with a crop, whip, or stick and may also need to hear some kind of noise from the rider. The Basotho have all kinds of crazy sounds they use to get the horses going and I can’t replicate most of them. However, I have been able to train my horse to become accustomed to sounds that I make. Every time I hit him with the whip to go I make a particular sound. After a few months, he doesn’t need the whip, just the sound. So, when you are beginning to ride, start off slow and go at your own pace. Do not let those around you or those that you are riding with rush you. They should understand that you are not an experienced rider. If they don’t explain to them that you want to take it slow to begin with because you are not comfortable with a horse. Do not go at any speed at which you are not comfortable. You should sit straight up in the saddle. Your back should be straight, head up, and your heels pushed down. You should ride with confidence and a commanding presence, this will help you to control the horse, and not let it control you. You should remain balanced on the horse. If you are going downhill, you should lean slightly back. If you are going up uphill, you should lean forward. This will help the horse, and it will help you maintain your balance. You can begin to increase your speed as you are ready, but take your time. You can hit or tap the horse with your whip to get it to go. Don’t be in a rush. I rode my horse for about three months before I galloped. I waited until I was comfortable with each progressive speed level before I moved onto the next. You may not even need or want to go fast. It is not necessary, just do what you are comfortable with. I can’t stress this enough. It is when you become uncomfortable that you forget your basic horsemanship, make a mistake, and run into a problem. If you remain in control and in your comfort zone you should be fine. Finally, always let the horse know who is boss. The famous saying, “What do you do when the horse bucks you off? You get right back on!” This is as true now as it was 100 years ago. You cannot let your horse get the best of you. When I was first starting to ride my horse would regularly try to buck me off, run zigzags, and run us right off the road. Each time, I had to correct him, regain control, and reestablish dominance. He still does it from time to time just to test me, but it is to a much smaller degree. If the horse gives you problems the first thing you want to do is slow it down and stop it completely. Pull back on the reins, hard if necessary, but not so hard that you make it rear up. Once your horse has stopped, you can do a number of things: spin it in circles, force it to go left and right, or jerk back hard on the bridle/reins. Jerking back on the bridle/reins is not a pleasant thing for the horse and it may make the horse angry. I have found it to be very necessary many times though. Just jerk back and release, jerk back and release. The horse should get the idea. If it does not, continue to pull the reins hard in different directions forcing it to go where you want it to go. Continue to use these techniques until you have regained control and dominance over the horse. Horse Behavior: I do not have a lot of experience with horse behavior, but I will talk about the little that I have learned from riding horses in Lesotho. First, signs of anger and discomfort (i.e. your horse is not happy). The horse will stamp its feet, swish its tail at you, or begin to look agitated. If the horse begins to look agitated when I am saddling it, I step back, move to the front of the horse, let it look at me, and calm it by petting and talking to it. I wait until the behavior has stopped, and then I continue to saddle the horse. Look for tensions in the muscles, jerking of the body and head, and noises or whinnies coming from the horse. If you notice any of these, step back, and try to calm the horse. You don’t want to get kicked. While riding the horse, I have found one sure signal that the horse is unhappy and usually getting ready to buck. The horse will put its ears back. If you see the ears go back, get ready. You may be in for a few bucks. The horse does not always buck especially if you can calm it. A horse at a quick walk or lope is far more likely to buck than a horse that is walking or galloping. Watch the ears and the head, they are the biggest sign. If the horse throws its head down or moves it about irregularly this can also be a sign that it is not happy. Particularly if it is thrashing its head it is not happy with the bridle. As you are still beginning, I would recommend controlling the horse in the aforementioned ways. Alternatively, if you are more experienced, you can push the horse to the next level (gallop) or let it know you are still in charge with your riding whip. My horse sometimes puts its ears back right before we gallop. My guess is he knows we are going to gallop, and doesn’t really want to. I quickly push him into a gallop, and the situation is resolved. Like I said, I don’t have a lot of experience in this area, so my best advice would be to learn to read your own horse. Try to tell how its feeling. Is a certain body movement or signal usually followed by something else? I have found that a horse will act much more tired than it usually is. Maybe if you have been riding the horse for a few hours it needs a break, but I doubt that will very often be the case. A horse, typically, loves to run and loves to move. If they are slowing down and acting tired then check for signs. A few legitimate signs of the horse being tired that I have noticed are: heavy panting, drooping ears, and definitely a lowered head. If the horse is walking with its head down it is tired and probably needs a break. Just like putting on the saddle though some horses will do anything to get out of a little more work or discomfort. If you’ve been riding for 30 minutes, your horse isn’t tired it just doesn’t feel like working. I believe (and I’m not sure about this) the old cavalry men rode their horses’ hard (full gallop in full heat) for 1 hour and then walked next to the horse for 1 hour. If you aren’t riding your horse at a full gallop then you can ride for a few hours before your horse may need a break. If you are just walking or trotting with the horse then you can ride it most of the day. Terrain can play an important part in riding in Lesotho. Remember downhill lean back, uphill lean forward. If you need to cross something very rocky or steep your horse will probably tell you it’s uncomfortable. If the terrain is very bad dismount, keep the reins, and guide your horse from the front. Keep both your reins and walk in front of the horse gently pulling it where necessary to get it to go where you need it to. Finally, keep your horse happy. Feed it well. Brush it well. Take care of it. Get to know it. If you do this your horse is more likely to give you an excellent ride. You will still have those bad days because horses, just like people, have good and bad moods, but they will be fewer and farther between. Horse Gear: So, I’m just going to say that I was always a skeptic, and wondered why all cowboys dress the same way. I always just thought it was cowboy fashion. However, over my months of riding in Lesotho, I have slowly but surely added many pieces of cowboy gear. In fact, I can now say that before I go riding a fully fit the part of a cliché cowboy. What I didn’t know, and what I know now is that everything the cowboy/cowgirl wears is for a reason. Let me begin with the most important, riding boots. You need to have something with a heel for riding horses. The tip of your shoe/boot should also be narrower than the back. The cowboy boot was designed to keep your foot from going through the stirrup. If your foot goes through the stirrup and you fall off, you can be dragged for a long time by your horse. The only way to release yourself would be to remove your shoe. Use something with a strong heel for riding. If you don’t have it get it. In addition, the upper part of the boot is extremely useful. Long hours of riding create friction between your calf and the upper part of the stirrup. This can be incredibly painful if you ride for some hours. A boot eliminates this problem. Next, super duper tight cowboy pants. Yep. If you don’t believe me, put on your regular blue jeans and go on a ride for a few hours. Your bottom will be so sore and chaffed from the friction of the loose material that you will go out immediately and by tight blue jeans. Get them, they’re worth it. Next, use a belt if you need it, but it is not necessary. If you ride a lot, I would recommend always carrying something like a Leatherman™. I have had to put screws back in my saddle, piece together broken reins, and do any number of other random things where this knife tool has been invaluable. A cool shirt for the hot days, but consider long sleeves especially if you burn easily. It is very easy to burn up there on the horse, and long sleeves can help prevent this. Hat, well we have our riding helmets, but something to shade your head and neck is good. Finally, and this is when I knew my cliché cowboy costume was complete, bandanna. If it is the end of winter, and Lesotho is in a drought, as usual, you may want it. You can eat a lot of dust on the road. The bandanna can also help shield everything from your eyes down from the sun. One more accessory you need is a riding whip/crop/stick. I have broken countless sticks and even a solid leather whip on my stallion since coming to Lesotho. All I can say is that sometimes you just have to whip the horse. You may not need to whip a well trained horse very hard (in fact you just want to tap it with the whip a bit), but most of the horses in Lesotho are not well trained. Caring for Your Horse: It is best if you can arrange with a shepherd to do this. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you shouldn’t be spending all day taking your horse to pasture, giving it water, etc. When you are caring for the horse the horse needs water 2-3 times a day: midday, night, and possibly morning. Arrange for a place to graze your horse. They eat grass, and in Lesotho it is best if you can graze the animal. To supplement, as a PCV you get a monthly reimbursement for food, this can be used to buy a small bag of corn or sorghum to feed the horse. You may want to keep the food yourself or with your family so that you can make sure it goes to your animal. The other major concerns in Lesotho are ticks and worms. Ticks can be pulled off by hand. However, they get in between the legs and buttocks. Try to have a shepherd help you remove them every so often. Worms need worm medicine. Ask around about where you can find it. If you can’t find someone that knows ask the person with the healthiest strongest looking horse. It is a good bet that they worm their horse. Horses also like various types of fruit, vegetables, and salt. Salt can be used to get the horse to drink. Horses need salt. I give my horse salt (for horses) every so often. Sesotho Riding/Horse Vocabulary: Horse - Pere Bridle - Tomo Saddle - Salle Stirrup - (Me)Moraha Blanket - Kobo Horse Whip - Phafa Left - Leqele Right - Lehoja Straight - Otloloha Run - Matha Walk - Tsamaea Can you help me with my horse? - Na u nthusa le pere ea ka? I need help with the saddle.- Ke hloka thuso le Can you put the bridle on? - Ke kopa hore u tome pere. I want to go to _______. Where is it? - Ke batla ho ea_________. Ke ho Kae? Go left at the next village.- Ka leqeleng ho motse oane. Go right after the next village.- Ha u qeta ho feta motse oo, u ee ka lehojeng. You need to walk your horse, it is tired.- U seke oa mathisa pere ena ea hao, e khatetse. Your horse looks sick.- Pere ea hau e shebahala e kula. Miscellaneous: Dogs. They might just ignore the horse or go after it when you are riding by. Slow down. Try not let the horse get spooked. In general, your horse will probably be used to them and knows how to take care of dogs. Most dogs aren’t stupid enough to actually try to bite a horse. The ones that tried are probably dead as a result of getting kicked in the head. The shepherd, or whomever, should be trying to call the dogs off. If he’s not, yell at the shepherd. Let the horse see the dogs, and try to just keep going. If you want and have the “ammo”, you can throw things at the dogs or hit them with the whip. If you do this though be careful not to lose your balance. Staying on the horse comfortably should still be your top priority. In the vast majority of times the situation will be as follows: the dogs come out running and barking, you slow down, your horses eyes get big and its begins to get noticeably agitated, you keep riding slowly while a shepherd runs after the dogs, you get enough distance, the dogs stop and you continue your ride. In the end just remember your basics, don’t ride beyond your level, remain in your comfort zone, and always respect your horse. Good Luck.
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